Penn State trustee Karen Peetz’s citation of “conflicting demands of her business commitments” comes across a standard boilerplate attempt to save face in her resignation from the board. The circumstances that surround Peetz’s departure allow informed speculation to the effect that her departure is less than voluntary.
First, the Bank of New York-Mellon may have decided that it did not need ongoing bad press about her unauthorized ratification of the Freeh report on Penn State’s behalf, and the Commonwealth Court’s and state Sen. John Yudichak’s appraisals of the board’s performance. Her statement that Joe Paterno’s service was marred, meanwhile, bet her own reputation, and therefore BNY’s reputation, on the outrageous proposition that Paterno covered up for a child predator. That is simply not something a responsible leader does, any more than he or she jeopardizes his employer’s name with the kind of racially-charged outburst that Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier delivered in March 2013.
The second issue applies to all the board’s Nov. 9, 2011, holdovers, and not just Peetz. Anybody who fires and humiliates a subordinate because loudmouthed columnists tell them to do it, takes down a statue because an airplane banner says to do it, and admits falsely that an organization covered up for a child predator is a coward who can be pressured, by legal and nonviolent methods, to self-deport.
I cannot speak for Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, but I would call Peetz’s departure the latest of its successful defenses of Penn State’s good name.
William A. Levinson